First Chapter. ‘Field Notes From a Catastrophe’. By ELIZABETH KOLBERT MARCH 12, Continue reading the main story Share This Page. Continue. Field Notes from a Catastrophe. by Elizabeth Kolbert. Bloomsbury £ The Inuit people of Banks Island have no word to describe what we. In Field Notes From a Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert presents incontrovertible evidence that global warming is a clear and present danger.

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Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change: Elizabeth Kolbert: Bloomsbury USA

Overall, though, and especially if you read the edition with the updated afterword, you drom help but feel an overwhelming sense of despair, dread even, when you consider how little has been done to date and how very little is likely to be done in the near future to reduce the effects of global warming.

The environmental effects that are apparent consist of rising sea levels, thawing permafrost, diminishing ice shelves, changes catastropye migratory patterns, and increasingly devastating forest fires due to loss of precipitation.

Is catstrophe hope for developing a Universal Environmental Protection policy that all Nations could follow? It’s never over your head. This article possibly contains original research. Kolbert takes us on a voyage across Iceland and Greenland, glaciers in Alaska and more temperate zones in Western Europe to describe the already substantial effects of climate change.

For the sake of the planet, I hope that audience, especially in America, is enormous — and that it includes all the political wonks who loved her first book so much. For example, she explains the origins of the Byrd-Hagel Resolution — adopted by the U.

Arrhenius began painstakingly working out the effects of carbon dioxide CO2 on global temperatures. Does climate change have the capacity to force disease causing organisms to enter into previously unvisited niches? So the next time some fathead tells you evolution is just a theory, tell them about pitcher-plant mosquitoes. And watching the world change under the pressures of global warming. There is the odd note of potential optimism towards the end.

Observer review: Field Notes From a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert | Books | The Guardian

It’s abundantly clear there’s no stopping it. The majority of those affected were victim to the devastating earthquake that hit Kashmir and Pakistan on October 8.

Kolbert zooms in and zooms out, from details to big-picture analysis. What will provoke our leaders to put some urgency behind the many steps that could be implemented to entice a new pattern of behavior and energy use? Throughout the book, Kolbert goes in depth on variety of issues that factor into global climate change and separates them into two distinct sections.


This article has multiple issues. Her final line of the original book screams at me with irony: Kolbert also takes us back to the beginning of the study of climate and climate change in the 19th century where we meet Irish physicist John Tyndall who studied the absorptive properties of various gases and came up with the first accurate account of how the atmosphere functions. As you reach the final chapters, you are left with some hope.

Topics Science and nature books The Observer. Oct 20, Lisa rated it it was amazing. With so much talk on what a major climate change could mean for our future, this book details what effects climate change is currently bringing upon us.

In 12 months it drifted miles north and itself decreased in thickness by a third. Field Notes From A Catastrophe details the author’s experiences as she traveled, met, and conversed with several leading authorities of the climate change issue. A global economy that requires constant expansion of production and inceasing exploitation of finite resources — fossil fuels, labor — would have to be transformed at its roots.

An argument for the urgent danger of global warming in a book that is sure to be as influential as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. It’s a well-reported and accessible book. She effectively starts the book talking about how different cultures and regions have been affected by an increase in temperatures.

Kolbert brings to attention the attempts of large corporations such as Exxon Mobil and General Motors to influence politicians and discredit scientists. This book was one of the first books I read on climate change, and is particularly convincing as it is based on actually observing what was going on in the Arctic, not on climate models, theoretical projections, or any such things as these though I imagine that some of this stuff is mentioned in the book, I don’t recall.

But as we learned of green house effects in the 80’s, we could have acted to delay the process; we could have begun to make changes to better adapt; the reality in thrown in our face in all directions, and most kolberg try to ignore it. Pre-historic air trapped in arctic ice-cores is not the only evidence of our new climate regime. In the Arctic, above all, the impacts are catastroph and undeniable – although “undeniable” encompasses territory many of us would once not have believed, it has to be admitted.

Kolbert takes a broad view of climate change, tackling it from a variety of perspectives through a field notes approach. For example, she explains that if the oceans rise, a lot of land that people now live on will be under water causing millions of refugees. However, the inescapable truth of both books is that in the human-marked epoch, now known as the Anthropocene, we humans are the biggest fgom on the flora, fauna, and world around us.


Field Notes is an alarming account of global warming and a solid introduction to the science.

Open Preview See a Problem? Kolbret consisting only of original research should be removed. Indeed, our chances of surviving the global heating we are inducing by pumping more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere look positively grim, according to Kolbert. Very depressing, very informative book. Visiting an Inupiat community in Alaska, a butterfly expert in England, or a midlevel Bush administration official in Washington, D.

Elizabeth Kolbert is the modern day Cassandra of Greek mythology warning of the inevitable future on climate change, if we do little to alter our current course. And How I Got Licked That famous quote from Upton Sinclair seems highly appropriate to any discussion of climate change in this country. The wide variety of sources used cataatrophe the enormous amount of effort she made in order for this book to serve as scientific research that should not go unread.

Lynne Newell I think a required reading list for our lawmakers would be an excellent thing.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe

Articles that may contain original research from July All articles that may contain original research Articles lacking reliable references from July All articles lacking reliable references Articles with multiple maintenance issues Pages to import images to Wikidata. She explains the consequences and possible outcomes of these changes by describing their effects on the world.

She heads to Swiss Camp, a research station on a platform drilled into the Greenland ice sheet. To ask other readers questions about Field Notes from a Catastropheplease sign up. However, the inescapable truth of both books is that in the hum Elizabeth Kolbert is the modern day Cassandra of Greek mythology warning of the inevitable future on climate change, if we do little to alter our current course.

He had been observing the rapid industrialization which was occurring across the world and began calculating how the earth’s temperature would be affected by changing CO2 levels.